LOS ANGELES – General Motors Corp. began courting California car buyers last week, when it broke the first of six commercials in a $25-" data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" >

GM’s Calif. Drive Begins With Ads From DMB&B By J.L. Sullivan with Fara Warne

LOS ANGELES – General Motors Corp. began courting California car buyers last week, when it broke the first of six commercials in a $25-

With the muscle-bound yen frustrating import pricing efforts, and GM’s new value-pricing strategy in place, the maker figures the time is right to go after the California market.
One spot promises hassle-free buying pioneered by its Saturn division and touts a mix of options popular in the local market as standard equipment. Another even comes with an apology of sorts, trumpeting recent improvements in quality and asking for a second chance from consumers who have jilted GM for its Japanese competition.
GM’s research showed Californians, more than the general population, find the buying process ‘distasteful,’ said Ann Pattyn, manager of the California project. In the spot that touts the so-called ‘no dicker sticker,’ David Busby, a former staffer for the senator who introduced legislation to make price stickers mandatory in 1958, chides GM – with tongue planted firmly in cheek – for taking 35 years to improve on the idea.
In the second spot that broke last week, the owner of a wrecking yard in Oakland laments the automaker’s strides toward higher quality – it means less junkers for his business.
‘Our goal was to do something really un-automotive to stand out,’ said John I. Armistead, chief creative officer at DMB&B here, which has assigned about six staffers to the new GM account. ‘GM didn’t want to be seen as a conservative corporation; they took a little smile at themselves to make the point.’
Future spots will include former astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last person to drive on the moon, endorsing GM’s roadside assistance plan. Famed business negotiator Herb Cohen will appear in a spot for the value-pricing initiative.
‘This will be the prototype of how to run a program like this,’ said Phil Guarascio, general manager for advertising and marketing for GM’s North American Operations.
The struggle for market share in California will likely be hotly contested, though. On the same day GM kicked off its campaign, Ford announced it will cut prices on leases in California.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)